For OCR's official policies and rules about invoicing, including key information about deadlines and required record-keeping, please consult OCR's Billing Policies and Procedures. If you have not entered any activities yet, start with Enter an Activity. Remember that the July invoice deadline is often shorter--alerts about it will be sent on the OCR Listserv.
Below are technical directions for the Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant persona to generate and submit an invoice for his/her entire office, including:
- How to Generate an Invoice
- Invoice Features
- Submitting an Invoice
- Editing or Removing Activities from Invoices
- Missing Activities on Invoices
Also recommended for attorneys: Learn how to avoid nonpayment due to insufficient funding.
Also recommended for non-OCR contracted case consultants: Am I an OCR-Contracted Case Consultant?
How to Generate an Invoice
Access the invoicing function in CARES by selecting Invoicing > Invoices from the left side navigation. After your office has created at least one invoice, this screen will display a list of existing invoices in a table. Click on the column headers in the table of invoices to sort those columns; search for an invoice by date or status using the filters at the top. Click on a blue invoice number to open it.
To generate a new invoice, a Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant persona can click the blue Generate Invoice button in the upper right of the screen. (No other persona--case-carrying attorney, paralegal, regular case consultant, etc.--has this button or permission to create invoices.) Unable to click Generate Invoice as a Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant?
The CARES application automatically populates the From Date and To Date to be the first and last day of the prior month, but you can edit both dates to view a temporary draft or if granted an exception from the Executive Director for a longer span per OCR's billing policies. Once the date range is correct, click on the Create Invoice button. Please note that it can take a minute or so for the full invoice to load because CARES is compiling many rows of your entire office's activities.
Clicking "Create Invoice" at the end of the last section takes you to the invoice itself with the following options at the top of the screen. Note, large invoices can be slow to load the first time.
- Clock icon to the left of the buttons: Click this clock icon to view this invoice's history. This is useful for tracking the invoice's review and payment after it is submitted.
- Go to Date View / Go to Standard View: Toggle between two different ways to display activities. Date view allows a quick view of hours per day per user.
- Expand All / Collapse All: Display all or none of the detail rows with one click (can be slow to load).
- Print: Opens your web browser's print dialog if you would like to print the invoice (or print to PDF). OCR recommends printing in "Landscape" orientation.
- Delete: If the invoice is in Draft status, you can delete it without impacting any of the activities themselves. This enables you to create temporary Draft invoices—but be sure to delete them if you're not going to submit them. If the invoice is not in Draft status, this button is not available.
- Exit: Return to the list of all invoices.
- Submit Invoice to OCR: The Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant can click this button after s/he is satisfied that the invoice is accurate. It will be sent to OCR for review/payment and cannot be edited after submission. Other user types (e.g. paralegal) do not have access to this button.
- Recreate Invoice: This is equivalent to deleting your draft and starting over at the Generate Invoice step with the same date range. If you or your support staff add/delete/change any activities for the invoice's time period, you can click this button to update the contents.
- Flag icon to the right of the buttons: Click this flag icon to temporarily adjust the thresholds for the red and yellow clock icons shown in the invoice itself (more below).
Within the invoice body, features include:
- Click on a blue plus (+) sign to view more detail; click on a blue minus (-) sign to collapse the detail under that row. (Note the "expand/collapse all" buttons at the top as well.)
- Red and yellow clock icons—by default, red icons show you days at or over 12 hours and yellow icons show days at or over 10 hours. Adjust these thresholds temporarily however you wish by clicking the small flag icon to the right of the buttons along the top. (These flags are only to assist in your review; they do not mean OCR will necessarily reject the invoice.)
- Case numbers are hyperlinks to the appointment itself—click on a blue case number to jump to that appointment if you need to review notes or make edits.
- If you see a red-labeled Insufficient Funds (Not included in totals above) section at the bottom of the invoice, this alerts attorneys to cases which have exceeded the Appointment Billing Allocation and are therefore excluded from the invoice. See also Additional Funding Requests—after a funding request leads to sufficient funding, the case will no longer show under "Insufficient Funds" on new invoices.
Submitting an Invoice
Once the Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant is satisfied that the draft invoice is accurate, s/he can submit it to OCR for review/payment per OCR's billing policies by clicking on the Submit Invoice to OCR button in the upper right of the page. (If anyone in your office edited the office's activities since the time the draft was created, a warning will pop up that more activities have been added, and you can "Recreate Invoice" to capture and review the changes. See New Activities on Draft Invoice for more help on this.)
After certifying the required language and submitting the invoice, the Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant can find the submitted invoice in the Invoicing > Invoices page. OCR recommends double-checking that your recently-submitted invoice is listed here with "Submitted" status—if not, you may have missed a step. The Managing Attorney or Managing Case Consultant for the office will also receive an email notification that the invoice was submitted (provided s/he has not disabled email notifications in User Settings and the email is deliverable). Please consult OCR's Billing Policies and Procedures for more on why and how submitted invoices are approved or rejected.
Editing or Removing Activities from Invoices
If you observe an error on a submitted but unpaid invoice with time before the deadline, write to email@example.com to "reject" it before it is paid so you may make changes as detailed below. If you only need to add more activities: request the rejection, enter activities as usual, and regenerate the invoice after it is rejected. If your invoice is still a draft, rejection is unnecessary--please read on.
CARES only allows each activity to appear on one invoice. Activities included on a draft invoice may be edited but cannot be deleted and are not available to be included on any other invoice unless you delete the draft invoice first. Deleting a draft invoice does not delete the activities it contains. If you cannot delete an activity, a) it may be on an existing invoice and/or b) it may have been created in another user's account:
- If you cannot delete your own activity, look for it on an existing invoice, being sure to check all draft invoices.
- To delete an activity from a draft invoice, delete the draft invoice first, then navigate to the activity in the Activities tab to delete it.
- After an invoice is submitted, its activities can never be deleted. If OCR rejects a submitted invoice, you can edit and/or invoice its activities again if they are valid. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need OCR to reject an unpaid invoice so you may make changes. To remove activities from an invoice after rejection, edit them to mark them "Non-Billable" if they should not be invoiced/paid. Be sure to check the box "I understand this activity is not billable" near the save buttons in order to save this change.
- If an activity was created in another user's account, it must also be edited or deleted in that account—remember each user can only edit or delete his/her own activities.
Missing Activities on Invoices
If you do not see an activity you expected to see on an invoice, make sure all of the following are true:
- The activity date falls within the invoice's date range.
- The activity is not on any other invoice, including drafts (see Removing Activities from Invoices).
- The activity is not listed in "Insufficient Funds" at the bottom of the invoice (attorneys see Additional Funding Requests).
- The activity is not "Non-Billable" (see Enter an Activity).